Sylvia Walton (Ida James) of Harlem inherits a Jamaican banana plantation and returns to manage it. Since her arrival, there's been no sign of her disinherited half-sister Isabelle (Nina Mae McKinney), who ran the plantation until their father's death. But Sylvia, her two rival suitors, and her comic- relief servant Percy are disturbed by the constant, growing sound of drums.
It is hard for me to fathom the ignorance and attitudes exhibited by previous reviewers of this film - although I recognize them as the varied and typical kind that exist in today's world - shuck & jive crap or stupid story, good music or just plain bad film. I see this film as an almost anthropological and ethnographic evocation- some might say imaginings - leavened with some melodramatic love stories to hold the whole thing together and create popular interest - by some daring film makers way back in the 1930s. It has an all-black cast, save for the one bad white guy - who is no worse a person than the "Devil's Daughter." The music seems real, the Obeah rituals seem real - at the worst, well-conceived imitations - the dialogue and accents are faithful to the time and place - Jamaica and people from Harlem - the educated people speak well - the uneducated speak poorly, in the "yassa, massa" style that one reviewer found so objectionable. For those who think all this Obeah stuff - call it faith, belief, superstition, whatever - is bs, do some on-line research - make a search using the term Obeah or voodoo or hoodoo - and learn something about real life - not the imaginary, cleansed version some people think of as real. Well worth the 51 minute viewing.
October 12, 2013 Subject:
The story was slow but I just couldn't get past the horrible roles and dialogue given to the black actors. It was of some entertainment value but more as a time capsule of the injustice of bad roles given to minorities.
April 18, 2010 Subject:
that in the 21st century there are still bigoted asses like doowopbop in existence. Oh well, what do you expect from a California dj who makes his money performing karaoke while he still lives in his mother's house.
Amazing! This drumming is the ancestor of "grounation" or "nyabinghi" drumming, which formed the basis for Ska and other Jamaïcan music. The earlier anthropological recordings of that kind of music only go back to the 50's, if I am not mistaken. Does anyone know who the group was? Could anyone help me locate a copy of this? Otherwise the film is the usual pile of colonial clichés...